What did we learn from the most fiery Aussie derby of them all?
1. The Beale paradox
Kurtley Beale could present the greatest challenge when it comes to Test selection. Beale outlayed Matt Toomua on Saturday night at inside centre, in the battle between the pair presumably most likely to don the gold jersey. For Michael Cheika the dilemma will be whether to keep Beale in the utility role that made him a game breaker in the Rugby World Cup or to reward his strong start to the Super Rugby season.
2. Concussion or nah?
Most people who saw Israel Folau collide with Jordan Smiler 41 seconds into the game thought his night was over before it had really begun. After a long consultation with the doctor, Folau was escorted off the field for a concussion test, to be replaced by Dave Horwitz. He was back just seven minutes later, raising some eyebrows. The knock didn’t seem to affect his night, with a try and his usual heavy involvement.
3. Derby lives up to the hype
So often Super Rugby derby matches fail to live up to their billing. Days of verbal niggle and external commentary all boil down to disappointing contests. Not so on Saturday night as two of the most fierce rivals went head-to-head. The Waratahs played a level above what they have showed in recent weeks and the Brumbies stood up to every challenge. The only downside is that’ll probably be the last time we see these sides face off for the rest of 2016.
4. Folau the finisher
It doesn’t matter where he plays, Israel Folau scores tries. The usual fullback played at outside centre on Saturday night but still managed to nab a five-pointer. This one made him the Waratahs’ equal highest try scorer of all-time, drawing level with Lote Tuqiri. Tuqiri took 79 games to reach the mark, Folau has taken just 51. He might have lost the outside centre battle to Tevita Kuridrani but he was one of the Waratahs’ best again.
5. Tomane boosting Test credentials
Two tries in the first 16 minutes just wasn’t enough for Joe Tomane as he continued a super 2016, at Allianz Stadium.. He has been a great finisher for the Brumbies all year and showed that again. He is clearly already in Test calculations, having been part of the 2015 World Cup squad, and as one of the form Aussie wingers in the competition so far, has only improved his odds of being involved in the June Test series. He finished with 113 metres and three five-pointers in a decisive performance.